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A Full House Applauds ARCHES, BALANCE AND LIGHT A World Premiere by Mary Spletter at RVP

RVP 11x17-poster-NEW-668x1024A Full House Applauds
A World Premiere by Mary Spletter at RVP

A wonderful set by Michael Cohen greets us as we take our seats.  Stage Right is the living room of Julia Morgan (Ellen Brooks) in 1947.  Center Stage is a large photo of Julia Morgan, famous architect, who designed Hearst Castle and 14 buildings in Marin County, alone, between 1908 and 1932.  At Stage Left is a bench for flashback scenes of young Julia (Zoe Swenson-Graham) as a young woman studying architecture in Paris from 1898 to 1903 at the influential art school École des Beaux-Arts.

Playwright Mary Spletter based this historic-fiction play around the life of Julia Morgan, and any reference to her actual life is intentional. Mary Spletter takes full credit (or blame) for combining history and fiction to tell a story that also honors Julia’s many accomplishments.

The play opens as Julia Morgan looks back over her long career to ask whether she has had any regrets over her choices in life. The answers certainly will inform us about the hurdles she had to overcome to achieve her dream and may even offer surprises.

This play is brilliantly directed by well-known, award-winning Director Jay Manley, whose musicals and plays throughout the Bay Area have earned him repeated praise, and he has won numerous awards from the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle.

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A woman by the name of Marguerite (Anastasia Bonaccorso) calls on Julia to find out whether she is her mother.  The answer to this question helps us understand the daunting hurdles Ms. Morgan overcame to become the architect and designer of more than 700 buildings.MRH_7760


We are taken back to see young Julia fall in love and have a child with her French professor Victor (a charming performance by Robin Schild).  After the birth of her child, Julia leaves Victor to raise their baby on his own, as she believes the baby will interfere with her ambitions to become the architect and designer of famous buildings.

John Simpson capably plays three roles: Cedric, Montgomery, and Porter.  Both Ellen Brooks, as the older Julia, and Zoe Swenson-Graham, as the young Julia, give brilliant performances.

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You’ll leave this wonderful play wanting to learn more about Julia Morgan — a California legend.

Photography by Robin Jackson




ARCHES, BALANCE AND LIGHT began February 18 and will run through March 6, 2016. Regular performances are scheduled for Thursdays 7:30 p.m., Fridays 8:00 p.m., Saturdays 8:00 p.m., and Sunday Matinees are at 2:00 p.m.  For tickets to Arches, Balance and Light go online to or call 415/456-9555, ext. 3. All performances take place at The Barn, home of the Ross Valley Players, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross.

Coming up next at RVP will be Boeing-Boeing by Marc Camelotti, Beverly Cross, and Francis Evans, directed by Christian Haines, from April 1 through May 1, 2016.


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